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Silicone Yellowing

Discussion in 'Fins, Masks and Snorkels' started by Nemrod, Nov 6, 2004.

  1. Nemrod

    Nemrod Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: Dixie/High Plains
    11,235
    1,463
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    I have several masks going back many years and I have a question regarding the clear silicone types. Most of my black rubber, non silicone masks are still useable save for a few that have just gotten dry rot, oh well, nothing is forever I guess, but I also have several silicone masks and they have taken on a yellowish tint to various degrees. They still seem soft and pliable and fully functional save for the yellowing whcih really hurts nothing. Is this a normal aging process and is there any way to prevent it or even reverse it??
    Oh, I just bought a new Mares X vision and yes it is a nice mask with low volume and excellent vision. N
     
  2. Damselfish

    Damselfish Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Northeast US
    7,609
    460
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    Silicone will yellow if it's exposed to rubber, that includes neoprene. If you keep a silicone mask in a plastic bag or mask box it will prevent it. I don't know of any way to reverse it.
     
  3. sharkbaitDAN

    sharkbaitDAN PADI Pro

    # of Dives:
    Location: Seattle
    189
    24
    18
    I actually believe the yellowing is a reaction to light, I assume UV rays. If you look at snorkels that have been displayed for a while in a shop, the silicone often looks yellow. AFAIK it will not be a problem. I've had masks and snorkels that were yellowed and did not have any problems diving with them. Also seen a lot of people use them with no problems.
     
  4. Allison Finch

    Allison Finch Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
    2,397
    1,231
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    I'm thinking that the yellowing might be caused by contact with sunscreens. I have clothing articles and other equipment stained by sunscreens. Many chemicals will yellow "plastic" and silicon products. Just ask pilots if they use certain chems on their lexan windows.
     
  5. Moogyboy

    Moogyboy Barracuda

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Union, NJ
    398
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    The cynical side of me wonders if it's something the manufacturers do with the silicone to give less knowledgeable divers an incentive to buy a new mask every five years. The yellowing is a bit unsightly but I don't believe it affects the functionality in the least. I still wear the same Sherwood mask I've used since I got certified, silicone yellowed and not quite as clear as it once was, and the most I can complain about is that I still haven't found a foolproof defog. :p

    cheers

    Billy S.
     
  6. Charlie99

    Charlie99 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Silicon Valley, CA / New Bedford, MA / Kihei, Maui
    7,966
    145
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    I've had some success removing the yellowing by scrubbing the silicone with toothpaste. But after the yellowing came back a year later I just gave up and ignored it.
     
  7. cyklon_300

    cyklon_300 Loggerhead Turtle

    1,441
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    is generally attributable to the photochemical reaction that occurs when ultraviolet (UV) radiation reacts with fungicidal agents present in the silicone.

    If you want to keep the silicone clear, store it in the dark and only use it at night.
     

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